Monthly packaging data shows likely impact of Turkey closures

The latest monthly packaging waste data reveals the likely impact of Turkey’s plastic export closure on the market.

The data, released by the Environment Agency on the NPWD earlier this month, reports on the amount of packaging waste recycled or exported between 10 May and 10 June 2021. The tonnage reported is consistent across most grades, with some fluctuations in plastic and wood.

With Turkey placing a ban on the import of plastic waste into the country, plastic tonnage has fallen from 116,315 in April to 87,394 in May. Despite this drop in production, the material does remain on target for 2021 and it looks comfortable in meeting the target this year. But there is concern that the closure of Turkey’s border to plastic exports may impact reported tonnage going forward, with the possibility of instability in this grade for the year.

Paper continues to be buoyant, with 301,766 additional tonnes reported in May. This is 1,766 more than was returned in April. This grade looks very comfortable in its ability to meet its annual target, consistently reporting greater tonnages than the required 235,000 tonnes needed per month.

Glass remelt is marginally behind the current target needed to meet its obligation for 2021, with the slow start to the year still having an impact on the overall tonnages. However, with 113,282 tonnes reported in May, glass remelt moves closer to where it needs to be. With additional reporting in Q2, we expect this position to become stronger over the coming months. Glass other saw a drop from 77,362 in April to 41,505 in May but remains on target for 2021.

Aluminium continues to be consistent, with another 10,826 tonnes reported for May, bringing overall tonnage to 60,737 for 2021. This is 8,000 tonnes ahead of where the grade needs to be for this year. We’re seeing a similar picture for steel, which is 8,000 tonnes ahead of the required tonnage to meet targets for this year, with a marginal increase in reported tonnage for May, totalling 35,788.

The data shows a significant drop for wood in May, with 38,568 tonnes reported. This is half of the figure reported last month. Despite this drop, wood does still look strong and with a reduced target this year, the material is performing above where it needs to be to meet its target for the year.

"...the export market is feeling the pressure with Turkey having now expanded the ban on the import of plastic waste to include polythene."

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental

Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental, said of the data:

“Overall, the majority of materials are making good progress towards their targets and we’re seeing some consistent data each month, which is helping to support a relatively stable market. There is, however, concern over plastic. Although plastic has been on track for much of the year, with 28,000 tonnes less reported in this data than the previous month, it is clear the export market is feeling the pressure with Turkey having now expanded the ban on the import of plastic waste to include polythene.

“There is the possibility of ongoing instability for this grade, and we are seeing this impact on prices and availability. We are closely monitoring, but we hope to have a better idea of the situation once the Q2 tonnages are released.”

Trade with Clarity

Clarity has been trading in PRNs since our business was established in 2002. We offer a variety of ways to procure packaging recycling and recovery evidence, helping UK businesses to meet their obligations under the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations. We are proud to have launched CREQS, our pioneering quality standard for recycling evidence, enabling packaging producers to achieve safer, more sustainable and responsible compliance with the packaging regulations.

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